Laurent Koscielny and Santi Cazorla have both reaffirmed their desire to fight for trophies with the Gunners despite the media suggesting the duo are searching for moves away with La Liga’s big two Barcelona and Real Madrid circling for the two stars.
Koscielny seemed the more likely of any player to depart after his recent comments suggested that if Wenger’s side did not push for a trophy this season he could potentially leave. Both Barcelona and Bayern Munich are interested in the French international’s signature after a stellar end to the Premier League campaign that saw the centreback chosen ahead of club captain Thomas Vermaelen.
The 27-year-old still has his sights set on staying in North London for the time being with his current deal tying him to the club until 2017.
He reportedly told La Montagne:
I have (a) four-year contract. For now, I am still at Arsenal.
The Frenchman feels an important factor in his decision to remain with the Gunners is down to their progression into the playoffs for the Champions League after a uphill battle to claim their place in the top four, citing the pulsating victory away to Munich as the catalyst for their revival. He continued:
The second leg of the Champions League against Bayern Munich was a trigger for us. In the process, we almost won everything.
The most important thing is that Arsenal is in the Champions League. It is super exciting to play against the best teams in Europe.
While Gooners expected to hear of the Koscielny rumours due to some of his dubious comments, Cazorla has been surprisingly linked with a move back to his homeland, however this time with Real Madrid.
The little Spaniard apparently came close to moving to the Santiago Bernabeu before making the switch to North London last summer, and after an impressive debut season in England where he managed 12 goals and 12 assists, Madrid are again interested in acquiring him.
Cazorla however has moved quickly to squash any of the rumours, maintaining that he is happy with the Gunners. Daily Star revealed he said:
In football you have to live in the moment.
I have three years left on my contract and I have not thought of anything like that. My plan is to continue at the club.
Arsenal are treating me very well and I want to win a title with them. In football, you cannot predict the future at any time.
The attacking midfielder has enjoyed a stellar first season and looks to be an integral member of the squad, he would be one of the last players Arsenal would look to sell this summer. It is encouraging to hear both of the stars maintain their affiliation with the Gunners as Wenger looks to build a squad strong enough to challenge on all fronts.
Arsenal are getting a tough time in the media with a variety of stars linked with a move away, however this summer looks to be unique – no (decent) players will be sold while additions look likely. Koscielny/Vermalen remain the only question marks long-term as much of their futures will depend on the amount of game time they receive this season, Wenger just has to operate smartly so all three centre backs get a look in.